What’s Wrong With Your Morning Shower

What's Wrong With Your Morning Shower

Your shower produces significant amounts of airborne contaminants. You probably had no idea that this was happening in your relaxing refuge.

How can this be? It’s because your water contains treatment chemicals that when heated and sprayed create airborne contaminants.

So, it’s simply chemistry and much like high school chemistry, it’s not on your side.

But you can reduce your risks and enjoy your shower by making a few smart choices.

Why Should You Care?

Studies have shown that when you inhale these airborne chemicals, it can be more dangerous than drinking the chemicals in unfiltered tap water.

You also might want to know that these contaminants can increase your cancer risk, cause birth-defects and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it?

It’s Safer For You To Bathe Than Shower

The data from one study sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (Andelman 1986) indicates that your hot shower can release between 50-80% of the water treatment chemicals into the air.

If you like to bathe rather than shower, it’s better news. Emissions from hot baths are 50% lower because water droplets dispersed by a bath faucet have a smaller surface-to volume ratio than water streaming into a shower so fewer of the volatiles can vaporize.

It’s Not Just Your Shower That Is To Blame

Another more recent study by environmental engineers from University of Texas at Austin documented that your shower and dishwasher contribute to indoor air pollution. The experiments showed that significant pollutants were released into indoor air from dishwashers too.

So, what can you do to reduce your exposure?

  • Use shower filters to remove chlorine
  • Shorten your shower time
  • Reduce the temperature of your shower since colder water reduces the vaporization of the chemicals
  • Opt for baths rather than showers
  • Use a bath ball filter to remove chlorine from your bath water
  • Use the bathroom exhaust fan to remove the gases from your bathroom
  • Use an air cleaner that removes VOCs to absorb the gases that accumulated during your shower

Let’s be honest.

You are probably not anxious to turn down the heat or shorten your shower and who can blame you? If this is the case, you could opt for a shower filter, more baths, using the exhaust fan or going for an air cleaner.

Check out how great the Sprite Shower Filter looks in the shower with the matching brushed nickel finish.

The filters are easy to install. No need for a plumber or special tools. You’ll only need a wrench.

Sprite Shower Filter added to existing brushed nickel shower head. Looks great and is a top rated choice for removing harmful chemicals.

Learn more about the Sprite Shower Filter.

Which options are most appealing to you? Were you aware that your shower produced airborne contaminants?

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes With Your Drinking Water

Are You Making These Three Mistakes with Your Drinking Water?

You know that drinking clean water (and lots of it) is key to good health, but you’ve probably been making these three common mistakes because it’s easy to do.

In fact, you’re sort of set up to make mistakes because the information isn’t readily available.

Mistake #1 – Drinking Unfiltered Tap Water

Tap water has contaminants that you shouldn’t drink. When you consume these contaminants, you make your body work harder removing things like chloramine, chlorine, arsenic, MTBEs (gasoline additive), and nitrates. What’s the point of making your body work harder?

You probably think that your local water department has got you covered.

Think again!

Of course, water departments have guidelines, but a couple hundred contaminants have yet to be regulated, and your water department isn’t perfect, so even regulated contaminants exceed safe levels from time to time.

So, avoid mistake #1 and do your body a favor by drinking filtered water. It’s simple. Don’t know which filter or brand? Check out The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters to find the perfect solution in a flash. Many solutions don’t even require a plumber.

Mistake #2 – Drinking Bottled Water
You might be scratching your head on this one, but the bottled water industry is completely unregulated, so no one is watching out for you.

Who knew?

The water quality might be better or worse than your tap water. No one really knows.

In a Natural Resources Defense Council study, 22% of bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above health limits. That’s almost a quarter over the limits for what’s deemed healthy. According to the NRDC, if consumed over a long period of time, some contaminants can cause cancer or other health problems.

Sigh.

Also, phthalates can leach from the plastic bottles or lids on glass bottles after being stored for just ten weeks. Phthalates are regulated in tap water, but not in bottled water. (source: NRDC: bottled water)

Mistake #3 – Thinking Your Water Pitcher Is Effective
If you’re using one of the widely used water pitchers, you’re not getting much contaminant filtration. Most of water filter pitchers remove less than 10 contaminants, and many focus solely on chlorine.

So, if your water company uses chloramine, your water pitcher is not doing you much good.

About 20% of water departments, especially in the South, use chloramine instead of chlorine to disinfect water.

Effective water pitcher filters do exist, but don’t bother buying the ones in a big box store. Check out which water pitcher filters we recommend that remove over 50 contaminants.

So, which if any, of these mistakes were you making?

Sign up for the 12 week email series The Zen of Pure Living. Healthy living tips and a dose of humor each week might be just what you need.

The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters

The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters

Find the Best Water Purifier

You’d like to buy the best water filter, but you’re concerned that you may buy the wrong product, it may cost too much or it will take a lot of time for you to figure out.

You have a lot of questions like:

Which type of filter should you choose? And, once you’ve chosen the type, which water filter brand performs the best?

These questions are answered in this Minimalist Guide to Filtered Water because it shouldn’t be hard to find the best water filter.

How to Pick the Right One

It’s easy. All you have to do is:

  • Read a few paragraphs (two down, only a couple more to go)
  • Answer a few simple questions
  • Make your product selection

 

1.  Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you want a portable or installed water filter?
  • Do you have a standard, non-pull out faucet in the room where you want your water filter?
  • Do you need instant gratification or are you OK waiting for a gravity filter?
  • Are you OK with installing under your sink? You’ll need space under your sink and maybe a plumber.
  • Do you want to remove the most contaminants possible including Arsenic, Fluoride, Nitrate and Nitrite, Barium, Selenium, and Radium? The contaminants listed are typically the hardest to remove so that’s why we’re calling them out here.

 

2.  Next, follow the Minimalist Flow Chart to find which type of water filter is right for you.

How to Find the Best Water Filter

Done? Great, now you know which type of filter you need. 

3.  Finally, Choose Your Brand – Click to see which brands are recommended and buy one.

 

Have questions? Contact us. You may want to discuss options or questions which is great because we’d love to help.

Know somebody who you could help by sharing?


Doing This Can Improve Your Health and It Starts with Your Morning Shower

Shower Filters Help Reduce Chlorine ExposureYou may be drinking filtered water to reduce the number of contaminants you ingest but if you are like me, you had no idea that your shower produced a significant amount of airborne contaminants. The heat and the water treatment chemicals and byproducts combine to create airborne chemicals. Studies have shown that inhaling these airborne chemicals can be more dangerous than drinking the chemicals in water.

You are probably wondering why you are subjected to airborne contaminants while you shower. Disinfectant chemicals like chlorine are used during the water treatment process to keep our drinking water safe. These chemicals react with the organic matter in water and form Disinfection By-Products or DBPs so it’s simply chemistry. When we shower, the heated water releases the chlorine disinfectants and DBPs into the air on onto your skin.

Several DBPs, particularly trihalomethanes (THMs) are shown to increase the risk of bladder, colon, and rectal cancers, cause birth-defects and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Exposure to DBPs occurs with all activities involving chlorinated water and include drinking, cooking, laundry, dishwashing, bathing and showering.

The data from one study sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (Andelman 1986) indicates that hot showers can release between 50-80% of the dissolved chemicals into the air. Emissions from hot baths are 50% lower because water droplets dispersed by a shower head have a larger surface-to volume ratio than water streaming into a bath so more of the volatiles can vaporize.

Another more recent study by environmental engineers from University of Texas at Austin documented that showers and dishwashers contribute to indoor air pollution. The experiments determined that significant percentages of all tested pollutants were transferred from water to indoor air and that exposure from breathing may rival or exceed exposure from drinking the water. EPA studies also support that the shower is a contributor to indoor air pollution. After conducting 29 experiments, the EPA concluded that showers contribute 45% of waterborne pollution spewed into indoor air.

So, what can you do to reduce your exposure?

  • Use shower filters to remove chlorine which will reduce the dissolved chlorine in your shower and also reduce the creation of THMs during your shower (it will not however remove THMs or other DBPs already present in the water)
  • Shorten your shower time
  • Reduce the temperature of your shower since colder water reduces the vaporization of the dissolved chemical
  • Opt for baths rather than showers
  • Use the bathroom exhaust fan to remove the gases from your bathroom
  • Use an air cleaner that removes VOCs to remove the gases that accumulated during your shower

So, it may be a hard sell to shorten your shower length or turn down the heat. I know I wasn’t anxious to do this! However, I have made some changes. I installed a shower filter that I really love. Also, I always use the bathroom exhaust fan when showering and finally, I have an air cleaner in my bedroom that I know is helping to remove the gases that accumulate from a shower.

The shower filter was a lot simpler to install than I initially thought. Although I could have purchased a new shower head with a filter, I opted for adding a filter to my existing shower head. I was able to match the brushed nickel finish, so it looks nice. I did not need a plumber, but I did need a wrench and some white plumber’s tape.

To install, all I had to do was unscrew my current shower head and add the filter and attach the shower head.

In addition to reducing contaminant inhalation, shower filters will also benefit your skin and hair. Many people report improvements in skin irritation and hair softness after installing filters.

Seven Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Seven Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Sometimes, you worry about what’s in your drinking water. Some of the stories you read strongly suggest that you should filter your water, but you feel like these stories may be exaggerated.

It’s troubling to think that your tap and bottled water may not be safe. Aren’t regulations in place to ensure the cleanest drinking water?

The answer may surprise you. You may want to start drinking filtered water.

Here are seven good reasons why.

1. Tap water has hundreds of contaminants from a growing list; a lot for a regulatory body to keep up with

Tap water has contaminants from agriculture (pesticides, fertilizers), industrial pollutants, urban runoff chemicals (car emissions, road surfaces, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, flame retardants), and water treatment chemicals (disinfectant byproducts like trihalomethanes & haloacetic acids).

It’s an overwhelming list, isn’t it? Especially since many of these contaminants have been linked to cancer and liver, kidney and nervous system problems.

So what’s the problem? New chemicals are being constantly developed, so the list of contaminants for the EPA to regulate continues to grow.

To see what type of problem this creates, think of what happens in an overcrowded classroom. Say you’ve got an outstanding third grade teacher who starts the year with a class of 20 students. During the year, the principal sends a new student to his class every week. How well do you think that teacher is doing by midterm when the class goes over 35? How about spring break when the class is over 45? Probably not very well. In fact, you can imagine that this outstanding teacher is struggling terribly with a class that is too large and bursting at the seams.

The same situation applies to the EPA and water contaminants. Lots of contaminants, new contaminants piling up on the list and not enough time or resources for studies and regulations.

2. EPA enforceable standards may not be stringent enough

You’re probably not sure what this means. Did you know that the EPA sets two levels for water departments?

You may be wondering how this works.

The EPA sets two contaminant measures—one standard is enforceable while the other is not.

  • The unenforceable standard is called the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG). The MCLG is set at a level where no adverse health effects are expected.
  • The enforceable standard is simply called the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).

The MCL is set close to the MCLG, but also takes into consideration other factors such as cost and technology to remove the contaminants.

Think of the MCLG as considering your health and the MCL as considering your health and the costs of removing contaminants. As a result, your tap water may have unhealthy levels of contaminants (exceeding MCLG) but still be meeting the enforceable standards (meeting MCL).

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it? Your water is not as clean as the EPA experts think it should be for good health because the EPA also factored in the cost of meeting those safety levels.

To get an understanding of how this works, consider arsenic standards.

The EPA classifies arsenic as a known human carcinogen. Its MCLG is 0.00 meaning that to avoid the possibility of adverse health effects, water should not contain any arsenic. However, arsenic’s MCL or enforceable level is 0.01 which allows water supplies to contain arsenic and meet standards.

You’re probably not on board with drinking arsenic–didn’t think so.

3. The EPA does not regulate all pollutants

The EPA does not regulate all pollutants. In fact, in a 2009 study a total of 316 contaminants were detected and 202 of those contaminants had no safety standards. And, the study showed approximately 132 million people in the US had unregulated pollutants in their tap water.

Admit it. You’d much rather have safety standards for more contaminants. In the 2009 study, only 1/3 had safety levels. Does that seem like enough to you?

4. Your water department isn’t perfect

Your water department may be failing on certain regulatory standards.

People make mistakes. Processes fail. Equipment malfunctions. When these mistakes happen, they can affect a large number of people.

For example, during 2004-2009, EWG reports that water departments serving 53 million people failed to meet the MCL for TTHMS or Trihalomethanes a “likely carcinogen” according to the EPA.

5. Your house plumbing can add contaminants

Your house plumbing may be contributing to contaminants because water pipes can add significant pollutants to your water. So, as your tap water travels from your water treatment plant into your house, it could be picking up contaminants along with way.

6.  Fluoride levels may be too high

Tap water contains fluoride which can cause adverse health effects. A 2006 study of Fluoride in Drinking Water sponsored by the EPA recommended lowering the MCLG due to concerns about increased bone fracture rates and enamel fluorosis in children 0-8 years old. The committee also recommended further study about fluoride’s impact on endocrine (thyroid) and brain functioning.

The MCL and MCLG currently remain at 4 mg/L, an unsafe level according to the committee. For a full copy of the report, click here.

Seems hard to believe, right? A huge study conducted by many experts from around the country says that the fluoride goal is too high nine years ago, and the goal hasn’t been reset.

7. Bottled water is unregulated.

You may think that bottled water is a great solution since you believe it’s clean and pure. Bottled water is marketed as being pure, but how do you know?

The answer is…you don’t know.

Why? Because the bottled water industry is unregulated. No one is regulating or testing what goes into your bottled water.

And then there’s the problem with plastic waste as well as plastics leaching into your bottled water which makes bottled water even less attractive.

How to get the cleanest water

To get the cleanest water, use a water filter. You can easily install some solutions without a plumber.

Do you need help finding the best water filters? Learn more about water filters and solutions and which water filter solution is right for you.

Want to fast track this? You can find the right water filter type and brand using The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters for unbiased, performance-based recommendations.

Now, you’re armed with the facts about your drinking water, and you know that finding the right solution is pretty easy. So, what’s stopping you?

Sources:

  • 2012 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories; US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPAs Standards 2006. For full report http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571.html
  • EPA.GOV: Fluoride at a Glance
  • Environmental Working Group: Study Finds Hundreds of Pollutants in Nation’s Tap Water, Dec 2009